Life Jacket Rules

Port Stephens Yacht Club

Life Jacket Rules

Link to RMS website

Lifejacket law

The rules governing the use of lifejackets on recreational vessels on all NSW navigable waters were strengthened from 1 November 2010.

Requirements for carrying and wearing lifejackets vary depending on the type of vessel being used. All recreational vessels must carry an appropriate lifejacket for each person on board. Lifejackets must be the correct size for the wearer and must be in good condition.

Requirements for wearing lifejackets are set in theĀ Marine Safety Regulation 2016.

The most common situations when a lifejacket must be worn on a recreational or hire and drive vessel are

  • on vessels under 4.8m at night, in open or alpine waters, and when boating alone
  • by children under 12 years of age at all times in a vessel under 4.8m, and in an open area of a vessel 4.8m to 8m while underway
  • on any vessel crossing a coastal bar
  • on canoes and kayaks on all waters
  • on sailboards and kiteboarding (when more than 400 metres from shore on open waters, when crossing a coastal bar or at night)
  • by anyone being towed, such as waterskiing and wake boarding
  • on personal watercraft, including tow-in surfer
  • When directed by a master of a vessel.

Penalties apply for not carrying the required number of lifejackets and for not wearing a lifejacket when required.

For more information on the lifejacket laws, see our FAQs.